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(The downvotes kind of prove both our points, and point to the kind of behaviours we should expect from politicians: you get more votes for saying what people want you to say than what you believe the truth is.)

Regarding "proving the lies" sites like http://www.politifact.com/ are quite good.

People have started using downvotes to indicate disagreement. Ironically, on this site at least, sufficient downvotes result in that post being hidden from view. Imagine that, censoring opinions with which you (in the proverbial sense) disagree.

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